Spoilers for tonight's episode of Game of Thrones are all over this article. If you haven't caught the episode tonight, feel free to check out one of our lovely articles.
If you caught tonight's episode of Game of Thrones, entitled "No One," you saw a lot of people die. The Hound caught up with the rogue members of the Brotherhood Without Banners and gutted the individuals who caused him so much pain last week. Meanwhile, his brother The Mountain also got up to some violence, ripping the face off a Sparrow. They may have all had it coming, but one other character reportedly died during Season 6, Episode 8 that we didn't see coming and then we didn't see at all. As the Frey/Lannister army took over Riverrun thanks to a clever ploy by Jaime Lannister, The Blackfish made one last stand, and a soldier loyal to the Lannisters later stated the fan-favorite character had died.
Brynden Tully made it clear that he had no interest in leaving to help Sansa, although he did seem to have an appreciation for her wit and attitude in writing. He also tried to keep the men at Riverrun from opening the gate and letting Edmure Tully in, knowing that it meant disaster for himself and his men. However, he was basically outvoted and Jaime's trap went into effect. There was enough time for The Blackfish to take Pod and Brienne to a back exit and allow them to escape. He could have left, too, but after spouting all of that stuff about fighting to the end, he obviously felt he needed to stay. He joked about not having had a proper fight in a long time. Clearly, he was more of a strategist than a fighter in his later years, although we know he can work a bow and arrow a heck of a lot better than Edmure Tully.
Here's the thing, though. In George R.R. Martin's novels, the siege at Riverrun began in very much the same manner. Brynden Tully and Jaime Lannister met up with one another under a white flag mostly to exchange insults and got the mettle of one another, as happened last week. Although Brienne and Pod were obviously not on hand for this sequence in the books, as they were dealing with the Brotherhood Without Banners and Lady Stoneheart's wrath, much of this particular plotline remained the same over the past couple of weeks, which makes it all the more wild that this version of The Blackfish would not see the wisdom in surviving and making a choice to head to where Sansa and Jon are. In the books, The Blackfish escapes Riverrun by jumping from the castle into the water. Since Game of Thrones didn't bother to show the death of The Blackfish, there's always the chance...
While The Blackfish has always been one of the most likable of George R.R. Martin's characters, appearances from the character have been few and far between on HBO's Game of Thrones. Brynden Tully has just been a fun presence that has shown up every now and again, and it wouldn't shock us if the show would sacrifice The Blackfish to get to the meat of the story. In fact, Brienne and Pod's escape under Jaime's nose almost acts as a stand-in for Brynden Tully's escape in the books, and as Pod and Brienne are clearly more substantial characters on the show, Jaime seeing her escape was almost more fitting than a heroic escape from Brynden Tully.
However, if we weren't going to get a heroic escape from The Blackfish, it would have been nice to have seen the fan-favorite character get the hero's death he was clearly seeking. Still, Game of Thrones isn't often about hero's endings, so perhaps if we had seen the Blackfish die, it would have been in the horrifyingly embarrassing way the character alluded to just before leaving Pod and Brienne. Maybe we were really spared, after all.